Posted by: George | September 29, 2017

Lessons from The Federalist Papers, No. 21

No. 21The most palpable defect of the subsisting Confederation is the total want of a sanction to its laws. The United States, as now composed, have no powers to exact obedience, or punish disobedience to their resolutions, either by pecuniary mulcts, by a suspension or divestiture of privileges, or by any constitutional mode.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers, No. 21

I have not posted a while. I have been stuck. I have been trying to find a lesson from Federalist No. 21, and I have been lost.

I have had trouble finding an important lesson here. I have also been watching Ken Burns’ documentary about Vietnam.

I was one of the student who protested the war in Vietnam. I went to Washington, DC, more than once to protest. I was there on November 15, 1969, when about a half a million people said that the war should end.

I think I have been stuck because Alexander Hamilton was, in many ways, a radical. He was also, in many ways, a conservation. He wanted order. He wanted a strong central government that could enforce it laws. He was also a constant foil of Thomas Jefferson, who advocated constant revolution.

I appreciate everything that Hamilton did for our nation. I also appreciate his dapple-ganger, Thomas Jefferson.

I understand the need for order. I also understand the need for change. I also understand the need to disrupt. I am feeling that more and more right now.

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for Vietnam?” This is the question John Kerry asked this is 1969. I am proud of my country. I am proud that my father served in World War II. I am proud that my brother served in Vietnam. I am proud that I protest the war, which my brother came to question. I believe that we need to embrace the best values of our country.

This is the message in Whitman’s Democratic Vistas. He said that we do not have a democracy—yet. But we can get there. We need to get there. We will get there.

Consult for background and texts relating to The Federalist Papers.

I also invite your to read Homo Academicus, my serial novel, which is being published at


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